Rich Murphy


Emptying from consciousness
the deep blue sea, the bailer
hoped someday to know
a bucket, a boat, a continent.
Instead, the drifter in a lather
learns with other psyche sailors
sound waves: a bucket, a boat,
continence. A tongue slips
on wet surfaces gagging meaning.
A god would laugh.
SOS abbreviates help
further from coastlines.
Any fisherman baits the quiet
for sanity and desires surface.
The lifeboat promises little
to the swimmer swallowing.
Hollowed out speech
strapped to breath acts,
a kind sail or flapping gull.
John Donne must never have
woken to his treading water.
The stars Odysseus left
in the sky require oars.
Between nine-tenths
submerged intentions
and Plymouth Mock,
small craft takes on the world.

Rich Murphy won the 2008 Gival Press Poetry Award for his book-length manuscript Voyeur. Other publications include a first book The Apple in the Monkey Tree; chapbooks Great Grandfather, Family Secret, Hunting and Pecking, Phoems for Mobile Vices, and Rescue Lines; poems in Rolling Stone, Poetry, Grand Street, Trespass, War Literature and Art, Tryst, The View from Here, New Letters, Pank, Segue, Big Bridge, EOAGH, E.Ratio, Borderlands, foam:e, and Confrontation; and essays in Folly Magazine, The International Journal of the Humanities, Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics Poetry / Literature and Culture, Fringe, and Journal of Ecocriticism.
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